Rafael Nadal is looking forward to clay-court season, but says his job is not done yet in Miami

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his win over Dudi Sela of Israel during the Miami Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 24, 2017 in Key Biscayne, Florida. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Transcript of Rafael Nadal’s presser after the Sela match.

Q. Congratulations. Talk about the conditions. The winds were crazy for a while. Talk about the conditions from the beginning of the match to the end.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, difficult to play this afternoon no? Been a very tough and long day for everyone I think. Rain delay a couple of times and then the wind was very, very high, no?

So difficult to find the right feelings this afternoon, but is these kind of days what you have to do is try to win. That’s what I did, and I am very happy with that.

Q. This is a tournament you’ve had great results for finals but haven’t taken the trophy yet. With Carlos Moya on board, is there a new strategy to play more aggressive from the baseline?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t think so, no? I think it’s always good thing to have Carlos on the bench. Having Carlos is a positive thing for me and for the rest of team, too. We are all excited about it, and he is coming with big motivation.

But I was close enough four times in my career. I going to try to give me more chances during this year and during the next couple years.

But this tournament is a tough tournament and anything can happen. I think I had a good week of practice, so I need it play good on the competition now to try to have success.

Q. I know you always get asked about your results here, your history here. When you look back at your results collectively, is there a sense of frustration because you’ve been so close or a sense of satisfaction because you’ve been so close?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think a lot about that, no? I think I was four times in the final. Probably I should win the first one. 

Then I have another good chance, but I was completely (indiscernible) in the final against Novak. 6-5, 15-30, didn’t happen, and the other two finals I didn’t play very well, no?

I think probably even if I was not in the final, the year that I was closer to win was the year that I got injury against Roddick in that semifinals. Was winning – never easy against Andy, no – but I have the match a little bit under control and I get injury of my knee, no, and then I lost in three sets.

I was playing great that year. I thought that was my year. But in tennis is always the same. Life the same. You have opportunities. If you don’t convert these opportunities, then it’s tough, no?

But I am still playing tennis and I am still here fighting for the things that motivates me. My motivation is play enough well to have chances here.

Q. Did you ever think that at this point in your career you and Roger would be kind of the talk of the tournament again as battling for supremacy of this title and possibly the top of tennis with Novak and Andy hurt right now? Is that kind of crazy for you? What?
RAFAEL NADAL: The year just start. We have nine Masters 1000s; we only played one. We have four Grand Slams; we only played one. We have a lot of 500 tournaments; we only played couple of them.

So it’s true that Roger start unbelievable and that’s great. Is true that probably Andy and Novak didn’t start as well as they did last couple of years.

But in my opinion, they are probably favorites because they have been there for the last couple of years playing more consistently than what we did.

So it’s very early. I feel that I am playing well. I can talk about myself. It’s obvious that Roger is playing great, but the year just started. Just let’s see what happens here, and let’s see what happens especially for me after this tournament that I have five tournaments that probably – not the most important of the year, but one of the most important.

Q. Congratulations. Last year at this tournament you played doubles with Fernando Verdasco. This year, you’re not playing doubles. Any particular reason? Why did you play doubles last year at this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: We were trying to prepare for Olympics. Finally we didn’t play. I play with Marc. The idea was to play with Fernando, so we were playing here and Indian Wells and trying to play couple tournaments. It’s not the case of this year. This year is not an Olympic year.

I played in Indian Wells. I have been away from home five weeks almost already, so I want to make sure that when I finish my singles I want to come back, rest a little bit, and adapt my body and my game step by step to the clay again.

Main goal for me is try to not get injury, have no injuries, be healthy. So the transitions between courts, between surfaces, needs to be step by step. Is true that I had a lot of times in my career drastic changes, but is obvious that that, for the body, is not positive. For me knees especially are not positive. Are very dangerous, these changes, these drastic changes.

So I want to make sure that if I get injury I get injury, but I am trying to do the best way possible everything.

Q. Rafa, since you mentioned the most important part of your season is probably coming.

Q. Since you mentioned yourself that the most important part of your season is coming in the near future, do you feel you’re playing at the level where you could win the French again? What would another French Open title mean for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know, no? I never think about the French. I think about Miami now. When I finish that, I going to think about having some days off, and then thinking about adapt my game to the clay again.

I know if I am playing well and I am able to find the right feelings on clay I am with confidence. I think I am playing well this year, better than the last couple years. So when that happened, I had chances on clay. That’s my goal. Roland Garros is still five tournaments away. For sure is an important event for me.

But I know that to play well in Roland Garros I need to play well in the previous tournaments on clay.

Q. You’ve been a vocal supporter of this tournament. Do you think it has a future here on Key Biscayne with the condition of the facility and the challenges we all know the tournament organizers have had trying to upgrade things?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know exactly. I cannot say things that I don’t know very well. It’s obvious that all the tournaments need improvement. I know this tournament had some troubles to make that happen, but it’s obvious too that, for example, the players area for having lunch improved a lot area last two years I think. I don’t remember last year. I was only one day.

But this year I was able to have lunch here, and this is important for the players, that the things are improving. In terms of food, improved a lot from a couple of years ago. That’s a good improvement for us.

So is true that we need more courts probably, but I don’t know the situation, how it is, no? I think the place is nice, beautiful, and will be great if that can stay here. The most important thing is the tournament stays in Miami. Miami is city well-known all around the world. Is important that we have our bigger tournaments in important cities.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. Regarding favoritism of Federer… Almost all the commentators favor him… Brett Harper needs to keep his opinion to himself…. While Frances Tiafoe was playing Roger he went on & on how Roger was the greatest of all time and what an Ambastor he is to tennis. He never gives Rafa a complement … but will poke fun of his rituals that he goes through… I can’t stand him … He reminds me of the penguin in Batman plus his voice is so Monotone & soooo boring! He is commentating today (yuck) along with Lindsay Davenport, who is a fabulous Commentator!

    • Instead of nurse, comedy? Sooo funny is your comment.
      I know you wanted to say Federer is an “ambassador” so was that a Freudian slip … for “bast—?” May get thrown off if I spell it out. LOL Instead of typo I’m voting Freudian. 🙊


  2. Miami open has its own beauty as does has Rafa. Today,March18, Rafa Nadal is playing Mahut who is a talented tricky player.Hope both Kay their game and make it an exciting for the Audience.Hope Rafa will be more aggressive and sharper and calm.

  3. Great play from Del Potro to survive first service game. I’m pulling hard for him these days, practically against everyone, except for Rafa of course. But this Fed is still dangerous. And he’s SO in love with his BH right now (not that he’s ever been not in love with his game) :D.

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